Thursday, July 16, 2015

London museum report 2 -- Jim Dine

The British Museum, on Easter weekend, was so crowded we could barely move, but we retreated to the remotest corner, inaccessible by elevator, far from the Rosetta Stone, and found a delightfully uninhabited exhibit of prints by the American pop artist Jim Dine.  They highlighted several of the images that Dine used repeatedly: bathrobes, tools, hearts and paintbrushes.  According to the curator notes:

"These motifs began as stand-ins for the artist, what he called an 'autobiography through objects', giving him the licence to do what he wanted in different improvisations.  'When I use objects, I see them as a vocabulary of feelings', he once declared."

Being a huge advocate of working in series, I am always delighted to find a bunch of artworks that demonstrate that practice by a famous artist.  It's particularly interesting to search out recurrences in printmaking, because you can sometimes see different states printed from the same plate.

Jim Dine, Five Paintbrushes (first state), 1972

Jim Dine, Five Paintbrushes (third state), 1973

Dine talks about the bathrobes:  "I found this advertisement in the New York Times, and it looked like I was in it.  It was an empty robe, and I thought, this is a good way to be a modern artist.  I don't have to draw my face.  So for a few years I used the bathrobe, and I kept calling them self-portraits."

Jim Dine, Self-Portrait: The Landscape, 1969

Jim Dine, Black and White Bathrobe, 1975

Jim Dine, The Woodcut Bathrobe, 1975

Jim Dine, The Tomato, 1973

Jim Dine, Saw, 1976

Jim Dine, Hearts and a Watercolor, 1969


  1. Love that idea for the self-portraits.

  2. I also really like the bathrobe idea for a self-portrait. Thanks for introducing me to Jim Dine; i didn't know his work.